Nissan has unveiled its new “brain-to-vehicle” (B2V) technology that it says can predict what a driver is going to do, improving how a car controls.
The company will unveil the new technology at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas from January 8 to 11. In a statement, it said B2V will not only speed up reaction times for drivers, but also make driving more enjoyable.
“When most people think about autonomous driving, they have a very impersonal vision of the future, where humans relinquish control to the machines,” Nissan Executive Vice President Daniele Schillaci said in the statement.
“Yet B2V technology does the opposite, by using signals from their own brain to make the drive even more exciting and enjoyable.”
B2V works by using electroencephalography (EEG) to measure electrical patterns in the brain, via a headset with electrodes. In a video, the company demonstrated how a person wearing this headset, and driving on a simulator, could have their movements anticipated 0.2 to 0.5 seconds in advance by monitoring their brain signals.
While the driver wouldn’t be controlling the car by thought, the technology could allow the car to predict when the person will turn, brake, accelerate and so on. This allows the car to enact the action before the human actually performs it.
The technology could also adjust the vehicle’s internal environment depending on the brain signals received, and also “use augmented reality to adjust what the driver sees”.
Speaking to IFLScience, Nick Maxfield from the Japan Communications Department for Nissan said there were a number of steps to take place before they could arrive at a practical application in the market though, which could take five to ten years.
For example, they would need a smaller and more stable headset, while the car also needs to already have some level of autonomy. He also noted that the technology would be opt-in, so you wouldn't be required to wear an EEG headset to drive a Nissan car.
"There's information your vehicle can gather about your driving habits even when you aren't wearing the headsets," he said. Nissan aren't planning to make the headsets themselves, but would simply offer a car that was ready to be compataible for EEG technology.
"The assumption is that such headsets will have a variety of applications in daily life, and we want to offer the first and best integration of this tech in the car," he added.